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U.S. Marines In Vietnam: Fighting The North Vietnamese, 1967

Published 1984

U.S. Marines In Vietnam: Fighting The North Vietnamese, 1967 by Gary L Telfer; Lane Rogers; V Keith Fleming
"This is the fourth volume in a planned 10-volume operational and chronological series covering the U.S. Marine Corps' participation in the Vietnam War. A separate topical series will complement the operational histories. This volume details the change in focus of the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF), which fought in South Vietnam's northernmost corps area, I Corps. Ill MAF, faced with a continued threat in 1967 of North Vietnamese large unit entry across the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Vietnams, turned over the Chu Lai enclave to the U.S. Army's Task Force Oregon and shifted the bulk of its forces — and its attention — northward. Throughout the year, the 3d Marine Division fought a conventional, large-unit war against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) near the demilitarized zone. The 1st Marine Division, concentrated in Thua Thien and Quang Nam provinces, continued both offensive and pacification operations. Its enemy ranged from small groups of Viet Cong guerrillas in hamlets and villages up to formations as large as the 2d NVA Division, The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing provided air support to both divisions, as well as Army and allied units in I Corps. The Force Logistic Command, amalgamated from all Marine logistics organizations in Vietnam, served all major Marine commands."
Volume 1 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Advisory And Combat Assistance Era, 1954-1964

Volume 2 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Landing And The Buildup, 1965

Volume 3 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: An Expanding War, 1966

Volume 4 Fighting the North Vietnamese, 1967 ← ← ← ← ← you are here

Volume 5 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Defining Year, 1968

Volume 6 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: High Mobility And Standdown, 1969

Volume 7 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: Vietnamization And Redeployment, 1970-1971

Volume 8 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The War That Would Not End, 1971-1973

Volume 9 U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Bitter End, 1973-1975

Other books in the Marine Corps Vietnam series.

Digitized by

Year 1984
Pages 351
Language English
Collection folkscanomy_military; folkscanomy; additional_collections


Reviewer: Ham and Lima beams - - April 9, 2015
Subject: Operation Kingfisher
Excellent chronology of the operations against the
NVA around the DMZ. Well worth the read for any historical research on these battles. The commanders' differences regarding how to prosecute the enemy along the Ben Hai River was interesting and the presentation demonstrated the Marine commanders were once again correct in their combat strategies. It is apparent the NVA artillery was very effective because of Westmoreland's decision to create permanent combat bases along the DMZ. He would have been wiser to listen to the Marines and keep the battalions mobile.
There were two errors in recording the battle the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines engaged on September 21, 1967. There were seventeen dead Marines from Fox Company left on the field, with one taken prisoner (Lance Corporal Plumadore) who died in captivity. Rather than the sixteen kia's reported there were forty-one kia's and one hundred and eight wounded in this battle. Three depleted companies of Marines of not quite three men, took on a regiment of dug-in NVA preparing to attack Con Thien. This battle spoiled the attack and it was the last time the NVA attempted to gather their troops for an assault on Con Thien.
The battle for Bastards Bridge was an excellent report on the strategic battle for this important bridge. What was not mentioned was the NVA used CS gas to assist their penetrating the Marine lines. What was most beneficial for the NVA was the lack of brush removal on the Golf and Echo Company perimeters. Several fighting holes had only twenty yards for fields of fire and this is where the NVA launched their attack. As you might expect, there was a fair amount of hand-to-hand fighting that night with much of the contact within grenade range.

The engagement where Lt Col Hammond was wounded and Major Lewendowski was killed in action (October 25-27, 1967) was accurately recorded. Several of the officers were heard to say during the fight they thought the battle was worse than the one on September 21st. This time the tactical scenario was in favor of the Marines, however, and thirteen of the nineteen dead NVA found on the perimeter the next morning of the 27th were in front of third squad, third platoon, Fox Company position. They had gathered for an assault with intent to penetrate Marine defenses, but artillery called within twenty meters of the Marine position with the addition of accurate rifle fire from the third squad's fighting holes stopped the NVA attack with several of the enemy five yards from the Marine positions.

The anecdote regarding the resuppy of ammo just prior to the October 25th battle left an unanswered question regarding why the extra munitions delivered to the Marine position was not destroyed. The CO who replaced Lt Col Hammond never did find out what happened. The original task was assigned to the third squad, third platoon, Fox Company. The order was to destroy nearly five hundred sixty mm mortar rounds which had been delivered via helicopter two days before along with assorted other useless supplies, i.e., barbed wire, etc. that shouldn't have been brought to the Marine dug-in position as it was impossible for them to carry it away. As the battalion was leaving the position, the third squad leader tasked his men to relocate the mortar rounds into a trench. After stacking the munitions in the trench, one hundred pounds of C4 was laid on top of the stacked shells which covered approximately one hundred feet long and five rounds high. The C4 was tied together with det cord and was triple primed. All three fuses were started and the squad took a position several hundred meters away and waited for the detonations. The timed fuses burned to their ends and audible pops was all that was heard. No explosion, so it was necessary to return to the prepared controlled explosive sight. What the squad leader discovered upon examining the sight was all three caps had exploded making golf ball sized holes in the C4. Further examination of the canister holding the original blasting caps revealed the caps were of the number one power range, however, C4 requires a number three cap to cause detonation. The third platoon commander was notified of the outcome and it was decided to call in an air strike on the position to destroy the ordinance.